二○一八年四月二十一日／四月二十二日 Click here for English version
親近神大概是每位信徒所渴望追求的，然而，怎樣才能親近神呢？福音書「登山變像」（路九 28-36）的記載，也許能夠給我們一點啟示。首先，耶穌主動邀請門徒與祂同行，但走的是祈禱之路（28 節）。祂變像的時候「衣服潔白放光」，又有摩西和以利亞的顯現（29-30 節）。面對這「奇景」，門徒心裡感到驚訝之餘，也許還帶有一些「屬靈快感」，以致他們會說：「我們在這裡真好！」還希望這一刻的經驗，能夠延續多一陣子*（33 節）。然而，雖有「榮光」顯現，但經文又充滿了「隱藏」的暗示——只有少數人在場；雲彩突然出現遮蓋了他們；之後門徒也「不提所看見的事」（36 節）。福音書作者似乎要強調，與神親近的重點不在看到甚麼，或經歷了甚麼，而是那一句清楚的命令：你們要聽他（35 節）！
緊接著登山變像後，是耶穌治好被污靈附身的孩子的記載（路九 37-43）。經文把我們帶進一個十分混亂的處境：當中有被污靈附身的孩子，有傷心著急的父親，也有一眾議論紛紛但無助於事的旁觀者。耶穌把孩子治好後，便毫不客氣地斥責那是「又不信又悖謬的世代」（41 節）！
我鼓勵北宣家弟兄姊妹平日更多藉禱告、遵行神的教訓來親近神，這樣，即使在生活中遇上困難，你的信心也必然讓你經歷神的平安。「你們親近神，神就必親近你們。」（雅四 8 上）
Come Near to God and He Will Come Near to You
Rev Raymond Chan
Getting close to God must be the pursuit of every believer. But how can we draw near to Him? There is perhaps a hint on this in the passage about the transfiguration in the gospels (Luke 9:28-36). First, Jesus took His disciples on a walk with Him, which was the path of prayer (verse 28). During the transfiguration, “His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning” and Moses and Elijah appeared in glorious splendor (verses 29-30). The disciples were amazed by the strange sight. Perhaps they also felt good spiritually. They said: “Master, it is good for us to be here.” They then suggested putting up shelters so as to mark the moment (verse 33). Nevertheless, the splendor in the Bible passage was accompanied by strong suggestions of concealment – there were only a few people at the scene, a cloud suddenly appeared and covered them, and thereafter “the disciples kept this to themselves” (Verse 36). The gospel writers seemed to be stressing that the important thing about drawing close to God is not what one sees or experiences. Rather, it is in the explicit command: “Listen to Him” (verse 35)!
In drawing near to God, unique experiences are wonderful but they are not the only way. Fervent prayer and determination to obey God will draw us near to His presence. So if you wish to come close to God, you will need, more often, to “go into your room, close the door and pray” (Matthew 6:6). The Lord Jesus also came close to the Father through prayer. How can we not do the same? As children of God, we will live closer to the will of God in our everyday life if we obey the teachings of Jesus. Obedience is also a sign of being close to God.
The transfiguration was followed by Jesus’ healing of a demon-possessed boy (Luke 9:37-43). Here, we are in the midst of a very confused situation: a boy seized by a spirit and a worried and heart-broken father abuzz with a crowd of bystanders who are curious but not helpful in tackling the situation. Jesus rebuked them after healing the boy, “You unbelieving and perverse generation” (verse 41)!
The splendor on the mountain may give a feeling of closeness to God, but Jesus was determined to take the disciples down the mountain and into the crowds. In doing so, we are shown life’s suffering, helplessness, fear and disbelief. We are also shown a new perspective on intimacy with God. And that is whatever the situation, we do not lose faith in God. Our prayers and obedience will equip us for the testimony.
I encourage brothers and sisters of the NPAC Family to draw near to God more through prayer and obedience in our everyday life. This way, your faith will let you experience the peace of God even in times of difficulties.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8a)